Joe Adcock was born in Coushatta, Louisiana on October 30, 1927. He attended LSU, before signing with the Cincinnati Reds. Adcock may never have achieved the stardom of Milwaukee Brave teammates Eddie Mathews and Hank Aaron, but still was the only one of the three, to hit four home runs in a game. He made his major league debut in 1950, with the Cincinnati Reds but was moved to left field, so Ted Kluszewski could play first base. Adcock asked to be traded and joined the Milwaukee Braves in a four team deal, on February 16, 1953, so was able to play for the Braves in their inaugural Milwaukee season.
It was 59 years ago this next July 31 that Adcock hit his four homers and a double at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn in 1954. Adcock only hit over .300 once in 1954, when he hit .308. Adcock hit over 30 homers only twice in his career. He hit 38 in 1956 for Milwaukee and was still with them, when he hit 35 in 1961. His only 100 RBI seasons were when he drove in 103 runs in 1956 and had 108 RBI in 1961.
Adcock is also famous for having the only hit off of Harvey Haddix, when he hit a home run in the 13th to end the game with a 1-0 victory for the Braves.
Baseballlibrary.com has a recap of that game:
May 26, 1959 – In a singular performance‚ Harvey Haddix of the Pirates pitches a perfect game against Milwaukee for 12 innings‚ only to lose in the 13th. Felix Mantilla opens the last inning by reaching base on an error. A sacrifice and an intentional walk to Hank Aaron brings up Joe Adcock‚ who hits one out of the park in right-CF for an apparent 3-0 victory. Aaron pulls a “Merkle‚” leaving the field‚ and Adcock passes him on the base paths. Both are called out as Mantilla scores. Initially the score is 2-0 as Aaron returns and score; it is later called a 1-0 game. Lew Burdette goes all 13 innings for his 8th win‚ scattering 12 hits. As a consequence of the base running in the 13th‚ the Braves leave an NL-record one runner on base. Haddix’s gem makes him the 9th pitcher to lose a no-hitter in extra innings; A combined effort of three Reds pitcher‚ on May 26‚ 1956‚ was the last. Making Haddix’s effort even more remarkable is the fact that the Braves hitters knew what was coming. In 1993‚ Bob Buhl admitted that the Braves pitchers were stealing the signs from Smoky Burgess‚ who could not crouch down all the way. They would place a towel on the bullpen fence in such a way to signal fastball or breaking ball.
Six years earlier Adcock had hit one of the longest home runs ever hit in the Polo Grounds, while playing the New York Giants.
Apr 29, 1953 – Joe Adcock becomes the first ML player to homer into the CF bleacher seats in the Polo Grounds‚ over 475 feet away. His homer in the 3rd‚ with Pafko on‚ comes off a Jim Hearn fast ball. Luke Easter‚ in a 1948 Negro League game‚ and Schoolboy Rowe‚ in batting practice before a 1933 exhibition game‚ also accomplished the feat. Lou Brock and Hank Aaron will match it is as well in 1962. The Braves win the game 3-2 on a 9th-inning knuckler by Hoyt Wilhelm that eludes Sal Yvars for a wild pitch. Billy Bruton’s perfect throw cuts down Monte Irvin for the final out. After the game‚ manager Charlie Grimm buys Adcock’s homer for $25 from the fan who caught it.
Adcock was involved in one the most comical events in major league history when he chased Ruben Gomez, a pitcher for the Giants after being hit by a Gomez pitch:
Jul 17, 1956 – In the 2nd inning in Milwaukee‚ the Braves Joe Adcock gets hit as Giants Ruben Gomez gets him on the wrist. Adcock takes a few steps towards 1B‚ shouts at the pitcher‚ then chases Gomez. The pitcher then fires another ball‚ hitting the first baseman on the thigh‚ before taking off for the safety of the Giants dugout. Braves 3B coach Johnny Riddle misses a tackle on Gomez who reaches his teammates‚ and makes it to the clubhouse where he finds an ice pick. He is finally wrestled to the floor before he can return to the field. Both players are tossed by Bill Jackowski‚ and the NL fines Adcock $100 and Gomez $250 + a three-game suspension. The last-place Giants eventually win‚ 8-6‚ ending the league-leading Braves 7-game win streak.
Adcock was injury prone during his career and played in more than 150 games twice in his 17 year career. He hit .277, while hitting 336 home runs and driving in 1,122 runs.
The following book from archive.org named Batboy of the Braves tell about Adcock borrowing the bat of Dodger outfielder Carl Furillo on Page 27.
The 1967 season would be the first and last season of Adcock’s managing career, when he managed the Cleveland Indians to an 8th place finish with a 75-87 record. He would manage one more year in the minors, when he managed Seattle to a 71-75 record.
He would then retire to his 288 acre ranch in Coushatta, Louisiana where he was breeding horses. He was born in Coushatta and also died there on May 3, 1999. My wife had relatives in Texarkana, Arkansas, so we often drove by the entrance to his ranch, which was located on U.S. 71, about 55 miles from Pineville, Louisiana where we lived.
Alzheimer’s disease was the cause of his death at the age of 71.
Eddie Mathews, Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette and Hank Aaron may have been the best known Milwaukee Braves, but Joe Adcock played an important part in their success in Milwaukee. For some reason he only played in nine, of the 14 World Series games played by the Milwaukee Braves in 1957 and 1958.